From the Google Reader….
It makes no sense complaining about the decline of the printed word. As it becomes just another medium, we are moving to a kind of multimedia literacy, where capability with print becomes no more important, or useful, than capability with image.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. There is no rule that says that the written word is superior to other forms of media. While some of us are print-oriented and will always remain so, there are people growing up to whom print is of comparatively minor importance.
The vast majority of these people will enter adult life as well educated as the generations before them. But they will rely less on books and newspapers, and more on television and the internet and multimedia.
We are not witnessing the decline of literacy, simply a new type of literacy. It is pointless to make moral judgements about the superiority of one medium over another.
Graeme Philipson makes a compelling argument for how our culture’s artists such as Doris Lessing and Elton John — both who decry the effects of the internet — need to change their perspectives about literacy in the 21st century. As a topic always on my mind, I found this opinion article a fresh take on the topic, especially the connection that Philipson makes between our thousands of years of oral history that has, only in the past few centuries, become replaced with print. Just because things are changing again doesn’t mean that we are in decline, it simply means that we need to adapt to the change.
This connects with a conversation that I was having yesterday with one of our college’s public relations consultants. She and I were talking about my research interests and how to make “literacy and technology” something newsworthy, and both struggling to find an angle on it. On the one hand, it seems that discussions of technology and literacy should be self evident. Yet, we continue to see school infrastructures and policies, teacher, administrator, and parent attitudes not reflecting a shift in thinking about this, and, as this EdWeek article points out, the fact that what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get treasured.
So, my question today is thinking about how to make technology and literacy — not just tech literacy, but instead the changing nature of literacy — a key part of the conversation that the media reports on with schools. Clearly, when they publish the box scores for the test results, people stand up and pay attention. Without being punitive, are there ways that we, as educators, can engage the media to get the story of technology and literacy shown to the general public in a compelling manner?
To be more concrete, I want the tone of the conversation in the media to change from “Why aren’t students passing the tests” to “Why don’t students have one-to-one access to laptops for use in their daily reading, writing, calculating, observing, predicting, analyzing, etc.?”
Philipson shows us a way to shift the conversation on the opinion page. Can we think about ways to do it on the front page, too?
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